There was something on the news this morning which brought on these thoughts. It was the fact the Pirate ship Radio Caroline broadcast for the first time 50 years ago today on 28th March 1964. I remember Pirate Radio and the Revolution which became the 60s but do my children ? No, of course not. But it was an important part of my life and deserves a mention in my blog.
This really makes me sound old, which isn't my intention as I intend to stay 'young' for a lot longer yet, but I just about remember what it was like pre 1964. My parents, certainly my father, loved listening to classical music and we listened a lot to the wireless - that word always makes me smile as I can still see the old machine with valves and the long wave and medium wave bands with all the stations listed as you turned the dial to find your station - more than we watched the television - a giant box with a small screen which, once it had warmed up, showed black and white grainy pictures of such programmes as Blue Peter and Watch with Mother.
As far as radio was concerned, the transistor radio had only recently been invented. They were 'portable', although pretty heavy and cumbersome as far as I can recall. We had the BBC Light Programme and The Home Service. The Light Programme was for 'popular music' presented by David Jacobs and Jimmy Young which probably featured the big bands as well as more modern artists who the BBC thought we should be listening to - Perry Como, Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra and perhaps the occasional Buddy Holly.
Imagine then turning on your transistor radio under the bedclothes, after you were meant to have gone to sleep, turning the dials to find Radio 'lucky' Luxemburg and then finding other stations like Radio Caroline and, my favorite, the Big L (Radio London) playing The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Hollies and numerous other groovy groups. It was life changing.
I was obviously too young to understand the reason why these stations were considered to be 'Pirates', although it was an exciting concept to be listening to something anti establishment and considered morally inappropriate. Looking back on it now, that period between 1964 and when the pirates were forced off the air in 1967 was the 'flower power and give peace a chance' revolution of the 60's when my generation and the one just prior decided : 'Right, we are not going to be like our parents. We know better. Let's do something positive and change the world.'
The world did change and it was a case of out with the old and in with the new. The Light Programme and The Home Service gave way to the beginnings of Radio 1, 2, 3 and 4 in 1967 and the old pirate DJ's - John Peel, Tony Blackburn, Simon Dee, Kenny Everett, Tony Brandon, Johnnie Walker to name just six - and their music became acceptable mainstream pop and a new era was born.
The difference between the 50's and the 70's is like chalk and cheese. There was a revolution and even though everything in the garden obviously didn't end up smelling of roses, the roses did smell a lot better than they would have done !!!